1. One Thousand Beautiful Things, compiled by Marjorie Barrows, published in 1947 by the People's Book Club. I found this old book in my parents library on February 7th, 2002. Apparently, I immediately recognized it as a treasure because I signed and dated it on the inside cover, and it has traveled with me all the way to Florida. This book is a great companion while sitting in a comfy chair with a glass of wine or cup of coffee. It's chock full of short stories, poems, quotes that you can savor slowly and contemplate. Here's one of my favorite quotes to ponder, by Henry Miller:
"Develop interests in life as you see it;
in people, things, literature, music -
the world is so rich, simply throbbing
with rich treasures, beautiful souls,
and interesting people. Forget yourself."
2. For Spacious Skies, by Eric Sloane. Being a lover of clouds, and a proud member of The Cloud Appreciation Society, I adore Eric Sloane and his books on weather (he has several titles, including Look at the Sky and Tell the Weather, Eric Sloane's Weather Book, Skies and the Artist: How to Draw Clouds and Sunsets, and more!) His stories entertain and inform, while his illustrations make you want to grab for pen and paper. Here's a little tidbit for you:
"Rainy days are regarded as depressing, not conducive to work,
yet I find that my best writing and painting occurs during the
lowering pressure of stormy days. When the day is dreary and the falling
barometer foretells a storm, I hurry home to my studio to make use
of the "good weather" for working."
3. What It Is, by Linda Barry. I came across this book while browsing Barnes and Noble a few years back. I was drawn to the playful, high school-ish illustrations, but even more so to the deep probing questions that the artist/author was asking. Linda Barry's illustrated journal explores creativity. She asks questions like "what is an idea made of?, "what are we doing when we are looking?"and "how does making art and writing change as we grow up"? Each page of this book is covered in thought-provoking imagery and ideas. Here's a teaser: